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Sunday, May 30, 2010


I have had several experiences during the past week where people I have been involved with - young and vintage - have made errors in their life.
It is interesting how we view the mistakes made by others especially when it affects us personally.
An attitude we try to install at MBS is that these should be viewed as mis-takes. If you stuff up then be proactive in making amends and rectifying it. But most importantly learn by the experience and try not to repeat it.
Yes, sometimes it takes us several "takes' to get it right but at least we are accepting ownership of the problem and showing an awareness that if we don't learn by it then there may be a consequence.
So often, especially with adults, we do not hear that little word "sorry" and the recognition that I will take ownership of my actions. The blame factor sets in and it must be the fault of somebody else.
That could may well be.Outside or past influences can affect your judgement or response but in the end it is you who has to deal with that and take responsibility for how you react.
When kids learn this at an early age they tend to address life in a much more positive way and develop better as future citizens.
What is important is that we give others the chance to address the issue and make good of it.
In the adult world unfortunately we are very quick to seek & destroy rather than have empathy or compassion. No wonder our young adults and high profile performers of today end up taking alternative solutions to solving the problems of their world. They were not taught to take responsibility initially, find their own solution and see if they could make good.
Hopefully the next generation coming through will deal with such things more thoughtfully and with greater resolve.
From a personal viewpoint the experiences I have had have reminded me that it is the 'man in the mirror' who is really responsible for what happens in his journey through life.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Forgive an old fellas reflection ?

It is interesting the expectations others have of you.
As a son, father, Principal or even as one in the vintage years.
I have spent most of my life striving to please the expectations of others. My own parents had high expectations despite the disability I had as a youngster. Upon honest reflection it probably did me no harm other than overshadow my own thoughts & apsirations of what I really wanted as a growing individual.In their ill founded intention they probably strengthened my resolve in taking on the challenges of life.
I was fortunate to be successful in my rugby playing days but because I had the skills & determination I ended up quite often being the captain of the team. This brought on new responsibility - you just couldn't play the game you really wanted to because you had to consider others - you had to be a role model. This can affect your approach to the game & to life.
As a young Principal (at 35 years old) this was also a challenge. I am not one of those who lives by the book or to the rules of others. I believe in my own intuitive principles of life ( founded on those of a good Christian upbringing). Yes some are debatable and some not so. But I believe being yourself is the most valuable asset you can have - as long as you do not harm anyone else.
As a son & father this again can be a challenge. I have a belief that love is not conditional and that your close ones should except you for who you are. If they try to change you then that it is time to move on and make your own way.
When you are heading towards the last years of your value in society I would like to think that you can do as you please and say what you like because you have been through the mire of life. Of course without causing undue harm to others.
I certainly listen & value my elders when they kick off on a tangent. Unfortunately we are losing this right of freedom in our society. Those that have the power, influence or the money think they know it all- pity because we will all will lose out in the end.
On a positive note I spent some time talking with a few of our Year 8 's ( 12 year olds) at MBS today. Wow - no problems there. They showed respect and understanding - they were willing to learn.
So old fella - maybe the world is changing with the next generation. If I have anything to do with it - it will!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Disco moment

Sometimes it takes a simple moment of realization to plant your feet back on the ground.
Last Friday evening I ( with my wonderful team of Waveriders- our Yr8 student leaders) put on a disco for the students throughout the whole school. It was a buzz. Yes it was hard work setting it all up and the night was full on but the rewards were huge.
I am not talking about financial reward ( but this certainly helps) I am referring to the interactions I had with the students and their parents. The building of these informal bonds during an occasion like this certainly has a powerful influence in the perception others have of you.
It is far more reaching than the newsletters, assemblies or parent information evenings.
To sit and chat with the students or their parents, who dropped in to see how it was all going, gave me the opportunity to discuss a number of varied issues and thoughts. The neat thing about it is was that the environment was a totally positive one. The feel good was already established so the communication came from a positive platform.
Many parents thanked me for my hard work and thoughtfulness for the kids.This was motivating as you don't get this direct feedback very often as a Principal.
Most importantly the opportunity to cement a relationship of trust & respect with the students was on offer. I took this to the max and I know it will reap reward in the future.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Assessment of the Nat Standards ?

Had an interesting day today and it revolved around assessment. I attended the APPA breakfast meeting to hear how we as Principals are intending to bring the Government to its knees over the Nat std debacle.[ lol]
Somehow I think we have missed the boat on this one. The river is flowing too swiftly and in my humble opinion I think it would be best to get on with making them work to our benefit. Let's use our knowledge & nous as educators and shape the silver chalice so that it provides the very best for our kids.
It can be done & if we can take the initiative away from the politicians. We can then make a positive difference. No good battling against the walls & having the boiling oil poured down on us from above. Let's undermind the ivory towers and bring them to a level that we can climb over & make headway into the future. I intend to be proactive on this one not reactive. We need to get our communities behind us and then make the changes as we see fit. At the moment the Minister has the backing from parents and we are paddling against the flow.
Later in the day my curriculum leadership team & I met with colleagues from Red Beach to hear & share where we are heading with assessment & reporrting to parents. Wonderful ideas evolved and I felt really positive we are heading in a very purposeful direction. We all viewed the Nat stds as a slight add on to be considered in our own developments. We are making them work for us - not the vice versa. It was so inspiring to sit down and chew over the issues with positive, clear thinkers who had the kids in mind.It is amazing how easy it is to comprehend the value of it all & place the whole circus in perspective. Yes there are flaws in the Nat stds & our assessment tools - but if we provide clarity & honesty to the stakeholders involved then what's the issue ?
I was thinking as we worked through our session today - what a pity the MOE/ Anne Tolley/and the knockers in education couldn't sit down as we were and say " Lets make this pigs ear into a purse!"
I am looking forward to when we report to our parents using the new format( with a Nat Stds flavour). I am certain we will only enhance our our community image. How good can that be !

Monday, May 17, 2010

Back on line

It has been some time since I have added to my own blog. I have been perusing the many blogs of colleagues & educators who are out there and find when I come back to my own I have expended my thinking.
However it is worthwhile contributing to fellow learners blogs as it can reinvent your own perspective by adding a thought or two.
I have been through a challenging time during the past year and I guess due to this I have kept much of my thought & feelings internally or just shared in the good old fashion way - face to face.
I guess a major realization that has smacked me in the face during the past trying times has been how fickle people & their organisations can be when it affects them directly.
One point in case here would be the Ministry of Education. I was under the naive impression ( and those that know me may not comprehend I could be naive??) - tongue in cheek guys- Yes I was under the impression the MOE were on this planet to serve the good of education and the many schools and Principals in this country. This is not the feeling I get.
They have lost their way in a political quagmire and the least of their worries is what is best for kids and teachers. It is a great shame because not that many years ago there was a healthy relationship between schools & the MOE. Now it's a blood out of the stone situation and as a leader of dedicated learners I wonder why bother with them.
The other body I am struggling to cope with at the moment is Principal groups. Some are evolving into self minded, egotistical blowhard buddy groups that feed off each other for recognition and self satisfaction. A little bit like the MOE I guess. Again what a shame - you don't hear much about what is good for the kids at these meetings anymore. The dialogue is overshadowed by how will MY school (not our wider community) be affected - because what happens will reflect on me. Oh let's get overselves!
Ok stop there Dave - you have vented enough. Not all is bad.
There are some really amazing people out there in schools making a fabulous difference to teaching & learning - and ultimately what happens for kids. This is where my mind is now and I feel great about it.
Thanks to Luke, Sarah & Derek for your blogs that keep me level minded about what really matters as an educator.
On a lighter note I am having fun in my own sandpit at the moment - check us out- and following my knee reconstruction feel 5 years younger. So watch this space - I am buzzing!